Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My cats snore

So now I know two of my cats snore... Cinnamon and Onyx. I've always known that Cinnamon snores, but I thought that was because of her... err... fluffier figure, but to hear Onyx snoring so soundly on the bed next to me as I type this... very cute. At least it's not an obnoxious snore... it's more like a wheezy snore.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

CtCtNW - Picture Movie

I tried this for the very first time tonight... I hope it turns out ok! I thought this might be a better way to share the pics rather than just putting it online in a static album.

CtCtNW - outtakes

Every single night, our waiters performed for us (which I thought was odd but what the hey). On the third night, we were speculating what the entertainment would be, when they dimmed the lights and played this music. Albert decided to hop up and start dancing...

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Cruise to Cabo that Never Was... Fin

Monday morning dawns. My alarm wakes me up at 5.30 in the morning because I have to report to one of the lounges for the immigration check. I got there at 6.30 and there were already a bunch of people there. We had to wait until about 7 before the immigration officers arrived, and they didn't start the checks until about 7.15 (they had to have their coffee first). I think I was done at about 7.45. It didn't take too long, thankfully. I just had a bit of packing left to do, and we went up to the dining room to have our final meal on the boat.

We weren't sure how quickly they were calling the debarkation numbers (we were assigned groupings to get off the boat). By the time we were done with breakfast, they already called the number before ours. We made our way back to our room, made last minute checks in the drawers and bathroom, to make sure we didn't leave anything behind. Our number was called, so we made our way out to the elvators. There was such a long line! I can't believe how much luggage some people brought. Thankfully, Cristina and I had one bag each with our carry-ons, so we decided to take the stairs to get off. We got back on land at about 8.45 and I waited for Anthony to pick me up "from the docks" as he liked to say. I people watched as I waited. I was exhausted, but happy to be back. I definitely wasn't ready for reality just yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cruise to Cabo that Never Was... Day 4

The morning started with our room phone ringing... I checked the time and I was surprised that it was 9 already! I expected Cristina to be up earlier than that, but she slept in too! I was nursing a combination hangover and aching muscles from my massage, so I was a little grumpy this morning. We got up to the deck to have some breakfast, and we were docked in Ensenada, much to my surprise. I had almost given up hope of ever getting off the boat, but this was our one day to do so. We jumped at the opportunity.

We took a local tour to La Busadora, the blowhole. It was crowded and the tide was low, so we didn't get to see much of anything blowing. The scenery was beautiful. It was kinda crazy how many stores there were on the way down to the blow hole. We kept having to politely say no, thank you, but at least we got to check out the wares so we would know where to browse on the way back up.

Cristina was looking for some pottery, trying to find her family patterns, and she found something for her sister-in-law. It was amazing to hear her barter in Spanish. There were a lot of neat things, but I ran out of cash so I didn't buy anything for me, though I did see this really cool star mirror with blown glass that I was keen on. Oh well. Maybe on another trip... :)

We ate at this little taco hut, recommended by our tour guide. He was not kidding. It was THE BEST fish tacos I have ever had! The fish was so fresh, and the tortillas looked hand made. Mmmm... it was spectacular. I should have gotten more for the road, but alas, I only had two, enough for lunch.

We were running late, so our bus dropped us right back at port, so we didn't have any time to explore the downtown area. But, what I saw at the cruise ship terminal will forever be in my mind. These gals (who looked like they were on a bachelorette trip), went to Papas & Beer, lost their tops, and came back with just a Papas & Beer bumper sticker covering their bits. I wish I had had more courage to go up to them to ask to take a picture! I was trying to take it from afar but people kept getting in my way, so I don't have any pics... darn it! It was... err... a sight, to say the least.

After dropping off our purchases, we headed up to the Lido deck because we were craving french fries and onion rings. Mmmm... Cristina had a hot dog and she said it was really good, and was trying to give me half of hers. I wouldn't take it, but she proceeded to put it on my plate and even cut it up for me! She's such a mom :) It really was a good hot dog... mmm. After we had our second lunch, we decided to check out the sushi bar on the deck below. We each got their sampler sushi plate. Why they put cream cheese in their california rolls, I still don't get. Other than that, it was pretty good :)

I got a coke and a glass of ice to bring down to the room, but we ran into Jimmy, Phil and David, who waved us into their room. David proceeds to pour some tequila into my glass of ice, and silly me, I sucked it up through a straw. Cristina told me that was a big no-no... that's how I got buzzed so quickly. Though, I firmly believe that tequila was 100 proof. It was strong, but very smooth too. I tried to tone it down by adding coke, but it was just strong. Period. So I had a little bit more and was loopy for about an hour or two before dinner. I provided Cristina with a lot of entertainment that evening. So much so, she was laughing so hard she had to go to the bathroom to relief herself. Hehe. I am funny.

Needless to say, I was a grump yet again right before dinner. *sigh* I need to quit being grumpy and just be a super nice person. I started feeling better as I always do after I had some appetizerts and food, and especially after I had my espresso. We decided to call it an early night to finish packing and what not since I had to get up at the crack of dawn for the immigration check before debarkation.

The Cruise to Cabo that Never Was... Day 3

Saturday dawns bright and early (I assume, since we were in an interior room without any windows), and even though I didn't get to bed until about 2 a.m., I was very excited about the day in Catalina. Cristina woke up at about 7.30 so I slowly woke myself up. At about 8, our cruise director comes on the PA system and informs everyone that we won't be able to dock because of the high winds, so the tender boats to take us to shore didn't get clearance from the port authorities to operate. BAH! I was disappointed to say the least. First we didn't get to go to Cabo, and now, no Catalina either.

So after some cursing (even though it wasn't the cruise line's fault... they don't control the weather, after all), we went for breakfast in the main dining room. I think I preferred the fare they served up on the Lido deck, but what they DID have were the yummiest hash browns (mmmmmmm, I even got a second plate of just hash browns... they were THAT good) and ESPRESSO! So much better than regular coffee :)

After breakfast, we walked around for a bit, perusing the picture gallery for the "official" pictures the photographers took from our formal night. We found our group picture, which turned out really nice, but because we're a cheap bunch, only one person bought the pic so it could be scanned and distributed... hehe.

We then decided to just get some sunshine since we've been stuck on the boat for the past day and a half, and Cristina snags us some lounge chairs. We sat up on deck and fell asleep for a few hours. We woke up in time for lunch, and proceeded back to the room to take another nap.

We made appointments for the spa that afternoon, so I headed off for my appointment. I had never had a hot stone massage before, so I was quite looking forward to it. The stones were hot... haha... but it really did help loosen up my muscles. Though, I felt like I had been hit by a truck after the massage, because I had my last massage 3 years ago. I pretty much felt horrible and climbed back into bed after the massage.

I don't think I was good company at the start of dinner, because I was still recovering from the massage. Though, I started feeling better as dinner progressed, and I was most definitely feeling better after I had my espresso for dessert.

We decided to head to the karaoke bar after dinner. Some people should just not sing. Some people were good, but some were just horrendous! I think our eardrums could only take about a half hour of it :) We found a few coworkers playing cards in the lounge right outside the karaoke bar, so we sat with them. At about midnight, everyone was heading in different directions, most of us headed for the dance club again. It was another night of fun and I think I definitely had one too many drinks that night.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Cruise to Cabo that Never Was... Day 2

It was a day at sea today. The weather was a tad chilly, but beautiful nonetheless. My roomie and I woke up relatively early, since we turned in around 11 the night before. We took our time getting ready in the morning, and headed up to the restaurant on the Lido deck (where the teeny tiny swimming pool is located) to have breakfast. It was still pretty rocky, but after breakfast, some coffee and more ginger pills, we were good to go. We explored the ship a little bit, went down one deck to look at the photos that we were forced to take the day before. I liked a picture that they took of my group, so I made my first purchase. We walked a little bit more, and then headed back to our room for a nap.

We woke up a short time later and decided to head to the library to try to get some work done before lunch. The one thing I noticed on the ship was a lack of plug points. There was only ONE in our room, and apparently, just one in the library. Since my laptop battery doesn't hold a very long charge, I didn't get to work for very long. It was time for lunch by then anyway. We ran into our group prez and his wife, and had lunch with them in the formal dining room. Cristina and I figured that we would get to sample all the meals in all of the different locations this way. I remember having a fish dish of some sort but I can't quite place what it is.

Checking our itinerary, we discovered that they had a chocolate buffet at Tiffany's (the restaurant on the Lido deck) at 2.30 pm. We hightailed it to the buffet, even though we just had lunch... yummm :) We sat on a table at the back of the boat, enjoying the cool ocean breeze while enjoying our dessert.

Our beds were made for a second time that day when we headed back for a quick lie-down after our lunch and dessert. Cristina said it was normal, but I was still amazed. We took a quick nap, and set our alarm so that we were up in time to experience high tea on the high seas (ok, I came up with that cheesy line) in the piano bar. It wasn't bad... I had some good tea and some light snacks. We then headed for the Romeo and Juliet room for our group activity slated for the early evening. One of the activities was to build a bridge out of spaghetti and marshmallows... very very sticky.

All I have to say is: wow, we are a rowdy bunch. We had some fun team-building, get-to-know-you activities. I got a couple of cool Tt items out of it, so I was pretty happy :) A few of us decided to have a few drinks and just chill before we headed back to our rooms to get ready for the formal dinner (and wash off all the marshmallows!).

We got dressed, went down to our boss's room to pick her up, and I took a picture of this cute little towel animal they made for her. It was adorable! It was a very nice dinner, and everyone asking us where we were the night before since we skipped out on dinner. After dinner, we headed for this revue-ish show they had. Cheesy, but rather entertaining. Though, hats off to the dancers, cause it's amazing they don't trip and fall while performing on a rocking ship! I got dragged onstage (how embarassing)... thankfully, Cristina couldn't work my camera so there is no evidence! *cue evil laughter*.

After the show, we were going to try to catch a comedy performance, but we got sidetracked and ended up in the dance club where we found a bunch of our coworkers hanging out. I joined the group, while Cristina bowed out and headed back. It was so much fun! I stayed till about 1.30 before calling it an evening. I didn't want to stay out too long since we were supposed to be in Catalina the next morning, and I wanted to be up bright and early for it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The cruise to Cabo that never was... Day 1

The Pasadena engineering group for the company I work for organizes a cruise for the employees every year. This year the Contracts group (which I am a part of) got to participate too, which was really nice! The destination: Cabo San Lucas.

I have been to Mexico only once, and that was to Tijuana 14 years ago when I was 15 on my first trip to the U.S. with my family. So I was very excited about this trip. About a week before the trip, we started looking at weather reports for Cabo, and it was supposed to be very overcast and rainy on the day that we were supposed to be there. The day before we left, we got reports that Hurricane Norbert was supposed to go through Cabo a day or two before our port day on Saturday, but we were told not to worry.

Thursday dawns bright and early. I was up late the night before packing and trying to finish work up, and I woke up early to get my last minute packing done, and to follow Anthony in to work so he could drop me off at the pier. The first thing I get from Carnival is a little flyer saying they are cancelling our port of call to Cabo thanks to the hurricane, and instead, we would be cruising to Catalina and Ensenada. I was disappointed, but not overly upset. After all, it had been at least 16 years or so since I had been on my last cruise.

We check in, I get written up as an "alien" and the check-in lady had to fill out extra paperwork, and so begins the picture taking. They won't let you pass unless you pose for a picture. So we did, as a group (I met my boss and co-worker at the terminal). We get to our rooms, checking out the ameneties provided. We had to bring our own hairdryer because they didn't provide one. But one thing that struck us as funny was that they provided chewable Citrucel in our ameneties bowl... which made us start to wonder what they were going to feed us throughout the trip.

We make our way upstairs to the Lido deck where they are serving lunch. Sat around, people watched, and looked out for our fellow co-workers. That was fun. They had some calypso music playing (if I remember correctly), but it was pretty loud and it was hard to talk, so after lunch, we made our way back to our rooms to unpack and settle in. We found out we had a mandatory safety drill, so we had to scramble to get our life jackets and make our way to the muster stations and listen to the instructions... thank goodness we didn't need the jackets :)
By the time the drill was over, we were all up on deck by the lifeboats, and were ready to sail away. I stayed out on deck for a while... I love the feel of the wind whipping my face, and it was such a lovely cool day in San Diego. We walked all over the outer decks and explored the ship a little bit. By the time that was done, I was hungry again, so we made our way to the 24-hour pizzeria on the ship. They had pretty good pepperoni pizza! We went back down to our rooms for a short nap, and I was starting to feel the effects of being on the water.

I swear by ginger pills... which are just ground up ginger roots in capsules. I managed on those and these wristbands called Sea Bands, which works on your accupressure point on your wrists to alleviate sea-sickness. Between those two things, I did not need to take any Dramamine!

Because we weren't feeling 100%, my roomie and I decided not to go down to the dining room for the sit-down dinner, and instead opting to eat at the cafeteria-style buffet instead. We made our way back to the room and just chatted for a little while before falling asleep.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A friend of mine got me to sign up with "Twitter" today, and it's a pretty neat tool to keep up with your friends. Just like on MySpace and Facebook, where you have status updates, you can "Twitter" your status now. I think it's pretty neat! Twitter me! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just Call Me Ms. Yin

I was trying to check in for my upcoming cruise vacation to Cabo on Carnival, but the system couldn't find my booking (the booking was all done through a travel agent). I kept trying Kenniston and Au for my last names, but it kept giving me an error. So I finally tried to use my roommate's last name since we both had the same booking number, and lo and behold, I see that they have my last name down as "Yin".

In Malaysia, our passports don't have a spot for "Family Name", just a spot for your full name. Since we are a multiracial country, and most races have different ways of naming their kids and family names/last names come in many different places in your name depending on your race. My name is laid out in the traditional Chinese way with the family name first (Au Su Yin), with my English name before my last name. So the name on my passport, which follows my birth certificate, is Yvonne Au Su Yin. Even if I didn't have an English first name, my name would still start with my family name.

I guess Carnival is going with literal "last names", not family names, which I personally find a little annoying. I even tried showing them how my name is laid out on my social security card (maybe I should have scanned in my marriage certificate too!). They wouldn't acknowledge my "real" last name. The only piece of documentation I will have on me with the name "Yin" at the end will be my passport. Just call me Ms. Yin. I hope I remember that in an emergency. They're not going to know who the heck Ms. Au is.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Speech & Debate, the play

This was the first play I've ever went to see, and what a fantastic experience it was. First of all, it was at the Blank Theatre's 2nd Stage, so it was a very small intimate theatre that only had 49 seats. My friends and I had front-row seats, and we were literally on the stage, with the actors only 3-4 feet away from us. To get to the restrooms (which we were thankful we used before the play), you had to walk across the stage!

It was an extremely hilarious play dealing with pretty controversial subjects like abortion and gay rights, though done in an extremely harmless and hilarious way, totally non-offensive. My friends an I were laughing so much with tears streaming down our faces! It was THAT good. The actors and actresses were fantastic too... it was amazing.

After the show, we hung around to see if we could meet with the actors, and Michael Welch (who played one of the lead roles) was extremely gracious and came out and talked to us, and even signed the postcards we got for the play! We found out that this was only their second live performance, and most of the audience was friends and family. He thanked us for being amazing... I guess he liked the fact that we laughed our heads off! He even rounded up the two other actors for us so we could get autographs and pictures with them. Totally awesome.

From Speech + Debate

From Speech + Debate

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer Rain

I love the rain... I don't remember the last time it rained during the summer over here. The air smells wonderfully fresh and there's electricity in the air. Though it's a little muggy right now, it's all worth it once the rain starts pouring.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Holy cow! Where has the time gone?

Wow... it's already almost the end of August and I'm another year older. Where has the time gone? So much has happened since last November. To sum up my year (and last year) so far...

... I got to take a trip back home to Malaysia last December, right after Christmas... I spent about 3 weeks home, and my mum-in-law Elaine came with me! We had so much fun. We went to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in East Malaysia (on Borneo), rang in the new year over there, and ate soo much food! I also got to go back to my hometown of Malacca, where we pigged out even more. I met up with some friends of mine whom I haven't seen in YEARS, so that was fantastic as well... all in all, a fantastic trip :) I'll have to put up another post with some pics and highlights.

... I was "bitten" by the Twilight series while I was on vacation. I picked up Twilight because the cover looked really cool and the sypnosis was interesting. Little did I know I was starting down a path of no return... I am now a proud and crazy Twilighter.

... We went up to Portland, OR for my nephew's first birthday! Portland/Vancouver was so green and pretty... and getting to spend time with AJ (and his parents) was priceless.

... Anthony surprised me with a trip to Vegas for Memorial Day, just the two of us. It was so much fun! We had a blast. We saw Zumanity and Stomp Out Loud! Both fantastic shows! We made plans to return again later this year.

... I WENT TO COMIC CON!! :) Wow. What an experience that was... and yes, all because of Twilight. I met a bunch of really cool gals there too, and we've made plans to go back again next year. That is another post I will have to make seperately... so much to tell!

... I made yet another trip to Vegas this August, the same day Breaking Dawn was released! This time, my friend Ai Lene and her husband Erik joined us. It was yet another fantastic trip.

So... here I am in my hotel room trying to think of what other good and interesting things I've done this year :) I'm sure I've done a heck of a lot more, but I just can't think of anything right now. Till later!!